These Common eider hens and chicks are so cute that you'd be tempted to take one home for a pet, like an Easter chick without the pink dye. These are specifically, Common Atlantic eiders because they are on the reflecting pool of the Washington Monument. Now look, be serious. They are on the Atlantic ocean. Every spring, starting in May, we get flotillas of them feeding along the rocky shore line and resting on the rocks. The hens make a mumbling sound which makes us think of old men playing chess in Central Park. The chicks peep-peep-peep like most chicks do. We can even hear them at night because they sit up on the rocks in the dark. Eiders are a big, sea duck. Their soft feathers are of 'eider down' fame, though today most pillows and quilts are stuffed with farm raised ducks and geese. Within barely hours of hatching, the chicks take to the water where they learn to dive immediately. Diving is how they get crustaceans from the bottom and also how they stay safe. When airborne predators show up, the chicks bunch together with the hens and dive. The mumbling and peeping are delightful to hear and we look forward to the chicks first appearances every year. In our neighborhood, we call each other up on first sighting, "The chicks are here!" But from there on out, it gets really ugly.